GiveDirectly is a charity that gives money directly to people living in poverty. The non-profit believes that by giving these people cash instead of other forms of aid, they can make choices that improve their lives. GiveDirectly’s research suggests that instead of buying alcohol, these people purchase medicine, livestock, schooling, clean water, renewable energy generators, and some use the money to start businesses. With no strings attached, cash is better for people living in extreme poverty in the most deprived places in the world. It allows individuals to get what they need rather than rely on international organisations to make educated guesses based on national or regional needs. Allowing cash to be spent in local businesses has so far shown to improved the economy with very little inflation.
GiveWell is an independent non-profit that lists the most high-impact and cost-effective charities that save or improve lives. GiveWell suggests supporting cash transfers for extreme poverty through GiveDirectly is one of the nine most impactful ways you can donate. They report that $83 of every $100 donated goes directly to participants of the charities programmes and that research shows this money improves recipients lives. You can read a full report into the charities impact on the GiveWell website.
GiveDirectly’s funders and partners include UK Aid, USAID, Google.org, Givewell, Good Ventures, and The life you can save. Current cash transfer programmes include:
- COVID support for African nations and the US
- A basic income experiment
- Support for the refugee crisis in Uganda
- Disaster relief
The Basic income project is the largest and longest-term Universal Basic Income (UBI) experiment globally and is run in partnership with researchers at MIT and Princeton University. The project is working in rural Kenya with 295 villages in the Western and Rift Valley region. There are four groups; a long term and a short term group that is given $0.75 per adult per day monthly for 12 years and two years, a lump sum group was assigned the same amount as the short term group but in a single one-off payment, and a control group. So far, the cash transfers recipients have shown improvements to well-being measures including hunger, sickness, and depression and have so far weathered the pandemic better than the control group.
It is important to note that this is a study on the long-term effects of giving cash to people living in some of the world’s most impoverished areas and not studying how UBI might work in more prosperous regions like the UK. I am interested in the impact of the project, and I want to support it financially. The idea of giving money to those in extreme poverty over other types of aid makes sense intuitively, and I like that such a detailed study is being carried out to understand if this is a better way to end poverty.
You can contribute to the project on the GiveDirectly website. Alternatively, you can donate to GiveWell’s Maximum Impact Fund, and they will give your money to where they believe it will help most.